SouthLaw, P.C. Notification: Abandoned and Vacant Property Ordinance and Proposed Legislation in Omaha, Nebraska

The current City of Omaha, NE ordinance requires property owners, which can include servicers or lenders, to register abandoned and vacant properties.  If the property is subject to the ordinance, the owner must register the property with the City and pay a $500 fee.  In addition, the property must be re-registered and a new $500 fee must be paid every 90 days.  Please be advised that the investor needs to be aware of the attached notice because they only have 30 days to register the property.

The good news is that the ordinance is only applicable to properties that are BOTH not being maintained and are unoccupied.  It is not applicable to any property that is actively listed for sale with a real estate broker and listed in the local multiple listing service.

Recent legislation was introduced in the Nebraska legislature to adopt the Vacant Property Registration Act on January 11, 2017.  The bill, LB256,  aims to provide authority for municipalities to enact vacant property registration ordinances. These ordinances would allow communities to identify and register vacant properties, collect fees to compensate for the public costs of vacant properties, plan for the rehabilitation of vacant properties, and encourage the occupancy of vacant properties, .The bill would authorize municipalities across the State to adopt ordinances to apply to residential or commercial buildings that exhibit evidence of vacancy. It also allow ordinances to require the owner of a qualifying property to pay an initial registration fee of not more than $250 for a residential property and not more than $1,000 for a commercial property as well as supplemental registration fees of not more than double the previous fee amount at intervals not more frequently than every six months after initial registration for as long as the property remains on the vacant property registration data base. The bill does authorize exemptions to the registration fee requirements for a variety of reasons, including vacant properties that are: advertised in good faith for sale or lease; only considered to be a seasonal residence;. damaged by fire, weather, an act of God, or vandalism (for 90 days); under construction or renovation (90 days); or which are subject to divorce, probate, or estate proceedings (up to one year). The bill also provides that any unpaid fees under a vacant property registration ordinance will become a lien on the property subordinate to all liens on the property recorded prior to the time  the notice of such lien is recorded. LB 256 has been referred to the Urban Affairs Committee. It may or may not advance out of committee for consideration by the full legislature.  At this juncture, it is very difficult to say whether the bill is likely to become law.  The bill appears to be based on, or in reaction to, an ordinance pertaining to abandoned and vacant properties that was adopted by the city of Omaha.


Questions, please email Ed Brink, Supervising NE Attorney at